STAMFORD, Conn. – Stamford’s Novlyn Hall came to the United States from Jamaica in 1982 with the idea of furthering her education. After a long and arduous road, the former school teacher feels she is on the right path toward achieving her goal in the University of Bridgeport’s IDEAL program .
“It’s never too late to go back to school,’’ said Hall, who worked several jobs, including a nine-year run in the management office at Stamford Town Center before she was laid off in 2011. “One of the reasons I wanted to go back was because it’s very difficult to get a good job without a bachelor’s degree.”
Hall went to a college in Westchester County, N.Y. for one year in 1984 and tried another college in Westchester in 2011. She saw a brochure for the Bridgeport program when she was working at a homeless shelter, and started classes in February of this year. She plans to graduate in 2017 with a degree in general studies with a business concentration.
“One of the reasons I chose Bridgeport was because of their great customer service,’’ Hall said. “From their academic advisors to everyone who helped me with the transfer, I’ve had a wonderful experience. I’m learning a lot, which I think will help me get a better job.” Hall wanted to concentrate on accounting when she transferred. She is focusing on business, but enjoys the broad learning experience she is getting at UB.
“The content of the courses that I’m taking is a real eye-opener for me,’’ Hall said. “For me, coming from Jamaica, I’m learning a lot. I learned so much about the United States Constitution in my first class that I didn’t know before. The way the academic advisors guide you, you’re not just getting a degree, you’re broadening your horizons.”
Hall has been active in the Stamford community for 18 years, serving as the President of the Westside Action Movement. She has also served on several other boards, including the Yerwood Center, and is active in the Mill River Collaborative and the Yerwood Center. A granite plaque and a tree have been placed in Mill River Park in her honor, and she will be receiving a proclamation from Mayor Michael Pavia.
Nothing compares, however, to her elation at getting back on track with her educational journey.
“I feel like I made the right decision,’’ she said. “I have no regrets. I feel like a little kid all over again because of the anticipation. I can’t wait until my classes start again in the fall.”